printable banner

U.S. Department of State - Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Sidebar on Economic Statecraft

Bureau of Resource Management
November 15, 2011



"…what I call economic statecraft at the heart of our foreign policy agenda. Economic statecraft has two parts: first, how we harness the forces and use the tools of global economics to strengthen our diplomacy and presence abroad; and second, how we put that diplomacy and presence to work to strengthen our economy at home."

— Secretary of State,
Hillary Rodham Clinton

Economic statecraft is at the heart of our foreign policy agenda. We have made it a core diplomatic mission to enhance our economic leadership in the world and to drive domestic economic renewal. Under President Obama’s leadership, our National Security Strategy is focused on shoring up the sources of our global strength. Open Skies agreements are just one example where we are putting economic statecraft to work.

What Are Open Skies?

Open Skies agreements between the United States and other countries expand international passenger and cargo flights by eliminating government interference in commercial airline decisions about routes, capacity, and pricing. This allows carriers to provide more affordable, convenient and efficient air service to consumers, promoting increased travel and trade and spurring high-quality job opportunity and economic growth. Open Skies policy rejects the outmoded practice of highly restrictive air service agreements protecting flag carriers.

Advantages of Open Skies

"Work to ‘democratize’ aviation continues to allow millions more Americans the opportunity to fly to international destinations each year and for countless foreign tourists to visit our country."

— Secretary of State,
Hillary Rodham Clinton

Direct air connections bring substantial economic benefits. Open Skies agreements expand cooperative marketing arrangements, liberalize charter regulations, improve flexibility for airline operations, and include provisions committing both governments to observe high standards of safety and security. These agreements also produce countless new cultural links worldwide.

Boon to U.S. Cities

Before Open Skies began to liberalize the international aviation environment, cities like Dallas-Fort Worth, Detroit, Las Vegas, Memphis, Minneapolis, Portland, and Salt Lake City had few or no direct international air connections. Now they enjoy direct connections to cities around the world.

Photo showing an employee working on the engine of a Boeing Co. 737 airplane at the company's assembly facility in Renton, Washington, June 3, 2011.

An employee works on the engine of a Boeing Co. 737 airplane at the company’s assembly facility in Renton, Washington, June 3, 2011. ¬©AP Image

The Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority in 2005 concluded that the direct service between Memphis and Amsterdam on KLM has a $120 million annual impact in Tennessee and supports 2,200 local jobs.

Portland, Oregon estimates that its direct international flights to Tokyo, Amsterdam, and Frankfurt generate over $240 million in airport and visitor revenue.

A private study found that new direct service between a U.S. city and a point in the European Union generates up to $720 million annually in new economic activity for the U.S. city and its local region, depending on the size of the markets.


Back to Top

Do you already have an account on one of these sites? Click the logo to sign in and create your own customized State Department page. Want to learn more? Check out our FAQ!

OpenID is a service that allows you to sign in to many different websites using a single identity. Find out more about OpenID and how to get an OpenID-enabled account.